Funding your College Education at GustavusFinancial Aid - Admission

“How can I get help paying for college?”

We hear this question a lot, and we have answers!

A college education isn't just a mere academic milestone. It stands tall as a gateway to infinite possibilities — a treasure chest packed with immeasurable opportunities, doorways to personal growth, and keys to unlocking personal and professional success.

However, the rising costs associated with pursuing higher education leave many students worried about paying for college. Despite financial challenges, it is indeed possible to make college affordable, and the investment is undeniably worthwhile. You can afford to attend Gustavus.

Most people don’t even consider private colleges like Gustavus because they don’t think they can afford it, but nothing could be further from the truth. That’s why understanding the financial aid process is crucial in making college accessible.

At Gustavus, we offer generous financial aid packages and flexible payment options, putting college within reach for a wider range of students. 70% of Gustavus students receive need-based financial assistance. In fact, we’re ranked #1 among Minnesota private colleges for doing the most for low-income students.

We recognize that the financial aspect of pursuing a college degree can be daunting, but the long-term benefits of the initial investment are priceless.

Paying for College: The Facts

When families get their first look at the sticker price of a college education, it can be an overwhelming experience. How will you afford a college education? The answer: financial aid. If you think you don’t qualify, you’d be surprised. Here are just some of the reasons Gustavus excels at making college affordable:

  1. More than 97% of Gustavus students receive some form of financial aid.
  2. First-year tuition is free for families with income less than $80,000 living in Minnesota
  3. Gustavus disburses more than $60 million in institutional financial aid every year.
  4. We’ve been recognized as the #1 school in Minnesota for Social Mobility (Washington Monthly)
  5. We’re the top “Bang for the Buck” college in Minnesota (Washington Monthly)

A college education at Gustavus is well worth the investment. Graduates with higher education tend to earn significantly higher salaries over their lifetimes compared to those without a degree. Gustavus graduates’ starting salaries average $51,000/year — depending on where you work, that can be double the average entry-level salary.

College graduates also enjoy improved job prospects, better job security, and a wider range of career opportunities. The rate of Gustavus students employed, enrolled in graduate school, or volunteering within six months of graduating is consistently above 90 percent each year.

What Do You Get From a Gustavus Education?

While you’ll only spend four years here, the value of a Gustavus education will last a lifetime. The numbers don’t lie: a whopping 76% of our students graduate in four years. Only 25% of state college students can say the same. And at Gustavus, 95% of students who start as first-years and attend full-time stay here and graduate in four years or less.

In addition to the practical financial advantages of studying at Gustavus, you will have an incredible college experience. Our world-class faculty is dedicated to facilitating life-changing educational experiences. The small, private, liberal arts experience you’ll get at Gustavus offers you the chance to forge stronger friendships with classmates and our highly accessible faculty who care about your personal, academic, and career success.

Financing Your Gustavus Education

Make no mistake: you can afford Gustavus. Numerous scholarships, grants, and loans are available to support students from diverse backgrounds. Merit-based scholarships reward academic excellence, talent-based scholarships recognize outstanding artists, and need-based grants provide assistance to those with limited financial means. There are also federal and private student loans available to ensure that finances don’t become a barrier to higher education. Let’s take a look at some of the opportunities:

  • Merit-based scholarshipsAll U.S. and Permanent Resident applicants who have been admitted to Gustavus are automatically considered for renewable merit-based scholarships, including the Gold Scholarship ($15,000+ yearly), the Dean’s Scholarship ($30,000+ yearly), and the President’s Scholarship (up to $35,000 yearly).
  • Talent-based scholarshipsGustavus offers three different talent-based scholarships for music ($1,000-$8,000 annually), theatre/dance ($500-$6,000 annually), and art ($500-$2,000 annually). Each of these scholarships requires an application and an audition/critique. Based on your academic performance and specific requirements, each of these scholarships are renewable for all four years of your time at Gustavus.
  • Private scholarshipsThere are myriad options for college scholarships out there, and one is sure to apply to you. There are scholarships focusing on everything from academics to athletics, cultural backgrounds, public service, religious ties, and more.
  • GrantsGrants are funds from the federal government, state government, or Gustavus that are intended to finance your education. The great thing about grants? Students do not have to repay the funds. Your eligibility is based on your FAFSA (or CSS profile for students who aren’t eligible for FAFSA filing), so be sure to fill out the necessary forms as soon as you can.
  • Student loansPrivate student loans are issued by a bank or other financial institution, whereas federal student loans are issued by the government. You’ll want to do a lot of research when choosing your provider, as interest rates and repayment plans can have an impact on the final amount of money you’ll end up paying.
  • Student employmentGustavus offers a wide variety of opportunities for all students to earn money during their time on campus. Student employees make significant contributions to the campus community while gaining a foundation of professional experiences.

Most, if not all, students rely on a combination of the above-listed financial aid options to pay their way through school. Other options, like a tuition reimbursement or benefit through your employer, may be available to you, too. While the above pertains largely to U.S. and Permanent Resident students, international students have many of the same options available to them as well.

Have questions?
Contact an Admission Counselor

How Much Does College Cost?

When you first start your research into colleges, your initial reaction to the cost of tuition might be, “Ouch!” But that’s because you’re looking at what’s known as the “sticker price,” or the comprehensive cost of tuition, room, and board (“board” typically refers to the cost of your meal plan). The sticker price is the cost before a student’s financial aid is taken into consideration.

Before you let the sticker price scare you off, take the time to figure out what kind of financial aid you’re eligible for. The majority of Gustavus students receive some type of financial aid, whether through a combination of scholarships, grants, or loans (private or federal).

How to Apply for Financial Aid

Here are a few steps that you must complete to receive financial aid and enroll at Gustavus:

  1. Apply for admission. The application process opens August 1, and you’ll complete either the Gustavus Select Application or the Common App. Whichever you choose, we consider them both equally.
  2. If you haven’t done so already, file the FAFSA (or, for those who aren’t eligible for the FAFSA, fill out your CSS profile). The applications open in December, and the sooner you get your information in, the better. Make sure to mark Gustavus as a college you’d like your info sent to.
  3. Once we receive your FAFSA information and scholarship applications, we’ll begin to create a financial aid package for you. If everything looks good, submit your deposit. Congratulations! You’re officially a Gustie!

Gustavus Adolphus Can Help You Finance Your Education

While the cost of a college education can seem out of reach, there are many ways to make it affordable. Scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial aid all ease the financial burden, ensuring that everyone can access higher education. Moreover, the long-term benefits of a college degree, including increased earning potential and enhanced career prospects, make an investment in college undeniably worthwhile.

By taking the time to understand the many financial resources available, students can begin their transformative journey at Gustavus — without worrying about the cost. Don't let any questions you have about money stop you from exploring Gustavus. We want to help. For more information, contact an Admission Counselor today.